After buying a new watch for my wife with tritium vials, she got furious with me and told me that I had plans of sending her early to her grave. This left me perplexed and confused at the same time. When I asked her why? She said that Tritium was radioactive and very dangerous if consumed. This forced me to conduct a research and find out if what she was saying is true or just some false findings. After a thorough research on whether a tritium watch is safe or not to wear, this is what I came up with.
First and foremost, I will begin by defining what is Tritium? Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. It contains one proton and two neutrons. Tritium is the H in H bomb and it is as well in your drinking water too. As a matter of fact, tritium is a radioactive substance that is not bad for human beings in small quantities. Tritium has the power to glow for 25 years and that’s why it has 12.5 half life. It is utilized in neutron generators, research activities, and fusion reactors. When combined with phosphorous, a continuous glow is attained like that inside most watches or products with tritium vials enclosed in glass or plastic casing.
Back to the question, is tritium dangerous? The electrons produced by tritium are so low energy that are completely absorbed by the phosphorous and the glass vial in which tritium is contained. Actually, no tritium is released from the vial. But in case the vial broke and tritium managed to penetrate into our skin, it will hit our DNA and lead to mutation which can in the long run cause cancer. The electrons released by radioactive decay are very dangerous. On the other hand, the tritium in the watch if it was to come up is in very small quantity that it won’t pose a threat to us. Also, the electrons released by tritium are so low energy that they can’t pass our outer most skin. This is because it is made up of dead skin cells. These dead cells stop the tritium generated electrons.
Moreover, if you happened to inhale the tritium after your glass vial broke, you shouldn’t worry about anything. This is because tritium is a type of hydrogen and will link to another hydrogen atom and an oxygen atom to create a molecule of 2 hydrogens and 1 water-H20-water. As a result, the tritium that is part of the water molecule maintains its radioactive properties but the water will move around the body just like normal water. Even so, the tritium water will be unleashing electrons and this time there won’t be dead cells to protect it from causing havoc to the body.
But since the tritium is in form of water and just a little of it is in the body, drinking a lot of water will get rid of it very soon before it causes any serious danger. This means that if tritium is taken in large quantities into the body, it will lead to havoc. The tritium found in watches is very minimal and less likely to cause danger. Watch manufacturers who get into contact with a huge chuck of it are the most likely to be harmed and not watch owners or buyers.
After explaining this to my wife, she now if contented and she reaccepted the watch I had bought her. OOhh! She apologized too for the bad remarks she had made earlier.
In conclusion; Tritium found in watch is safe unless you break and inhale it in your system. Nevertheless, the amount released will be very small that it won’t harm you at all.